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Wexner Center Artist Residency Award Project
$22 general public
“Young Jean Lee is, hands down, the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation.”—New York Times
Join us this April for the premiere of Young Jean Lee’s latest work STRAIGHT WHITE MEN, presented with an all-star cast at the conclusion of her creative residency supported by a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award. Young Jean debuts the work here for her many local followers prior to touring it throughout North America and Europe.
Each time provocative playwright/director Young Jean Lee approaches a new project, she embraces significant self-determined artistic and formal challenges. To many, these challenges would feel daunting, but to Young Jean they fuel an unquenchable thirst for theatrical discovery. Her surprising formal twist this time: STRAIGHT WHITE MEN is performed “straight,” a play whose experiment is to not be experimental.
With a linear narrative, realistic set design, and traditional characterization, STRAIGHT WHITE MEN uses the form of the conventional play as a jumping-off point to examine a group that, until recently, has enjoyed the privilege of being the default voice of Western society. Set in a family room brimming with Christmas family cheer, a father and his three middle-aged sons are forced to confront a deceptively simple question: “What can a privileged straight white man do to fight the perpetuation of an unjust system?” Using straight white male identity as a starting point, the play shows its characters confronting a pivotal cultural moment where the desire to do the “right thing” and align with new standards for social justice rubs up against an obsessive sense of self-actualization and self-fulfillment.
Once again, Young Jean Lee has recruited a fantastic cast: acclaimed director and actor Austin Pendleton is the father; and Scott Shepherd (The Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service’s GATZ), Pete Simpson (Blue Man Group, Richard Maxwell, Elevator Repair Service), and James Stanley (National Theater of the United States of America) are the sons. Be among the first to see this latest production from the always surprising theater visionary Young Jean Lee when it unfolds on our stage at its debut.
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN is a production by Young Jean Lee's Theater Company. It was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University; Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles); steirischer herbst festival (Graz); Les spectacles vivants—Centre Pompidou (Paris); Festival d’Automne à Paris; and The Public Theater (New York).
Funding support for the creative development of STRAIGHT WHITE MEN provided by the Doris Duke Performing Artists Awards program; the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN was developed at Brown University's Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Providence, RI. Residency support was provided by the Park Avenue Armory, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Columbia University, and Spaceworks NYC, a non-profit real estate organization dedicated to expanding the supply of long-term, affordable rehearsal and studio space for NYC artists.
This presentation of Young Jean Lee’s STRAIGHT WHITE MEN is made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
MAJOR SEASON SUPPORT FOR PERFORMING ARTS
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
EVENT SUPPORT FOR STRAIGHT WHITE MEN
New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project
National Endowment for the Arts
The Blackwell Inn
LEAD MEDIA SEASON SUPPORT FOR PERFORMING ARTS
The Columbus Dispatch
GENERAL OPERATING SUPPORT FOR THE WEXNER CENTER
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN